App that helps track, control stolen phones wins award

A mobile phone application that helps owners recover stolen units and protect private data was chosen as this year’s winner of the Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (Sweep) Innovation and Excellence Awards, which closed last Saturday at the SM Mall of Asia.

The application, Smart Phone Guard, hides itself whenever the phone’s SIM (subscriber identification module) is replaced. It then sends an alert to the phones of friends registered by the owner into the application.

Sweep award PHONE GUARD. Rexcel Balatbat, lead student of the Smart Phone Guard project, explains features of the application to Mon Isberto, Smart and PLDT public affairs head. Smart Phone Guard won this year’s Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (Sweep) Innovation and Excellence Awards. Click on photo to view larger image. (photo by Smart PA)

The alert message contains the new phone number being used by the unit and its new IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity), if this has been changed. The application, created by students of Bulacan State University, won P500,000 for the student team and another P500,000 in grants for the school.

The phone software can help save lives because it makes it easier for people to give up their phones during robberies, knowing they can track it later and, more important for kinky folks out there, delete private data such as messages, contacts, photos, and videos.

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Killing geeks can be fun

Boy, I didn’t know I had it in me. I’m in Manila for the Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program finals, which formally opens today at the SM Mall of Asia. Last Wednesday, organizers decided to host a paintball competition for participants at Global Gutz (a name that takes the wimp out of anyone) and, for kicks, I joined.

Paintball at Global Gutz LET’S GET IT ON. My team during the paintball tournament staged by Smart for Sweep participants. Click on photo to view larger image.

I was initially drafted into the Smart team, which eventually won the competition, but I switched sides when the game was about to start. A Smart team member who was assigned to another team asked to switch places with me, with the pledge he won’t shoot me on the field.

I was bent on staying as far back as I could and play sniper, which is what I do in Counterstrike. I do not have the heart of a Thermopylae warrior and was ready, as soon as we were overrun, to fire all my bullets and raise my hands to indicate I was out of ammo to get myself out of the game.

But there’s something about putting on a combat vest and mask. The enveloping threat of suffocation in soaring heat seems to unleash repressed demons.

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Take digital notes with Corel WordPerfect Lightning

No matter how hard I try, I could not recall my experience with using WordPerfect more than ten years back. I can recall using it for months but the overall user experience escapes me. It puzzles me. After all, I can still recall some of the keyboard commands for the DOS version of Word.

WordPerfect Lightning COREL WORDPERFECT LIGHTNING. The free note-taking software is easy to use and comes with an online collaboration account that allows you to synchronize notes.

But a link in del.icio.us not only reminded me that I once used WordPerfect and that the software suite still exists, it also pointed me to a cool free product that I have been testing for days now–WordPerfect Lightning.

Corel WordPerfect Lightning is a free lightweight word processor and note-taking software. It aims to fill “a gap between today’s existing desktop and Web-based productivity tools.”

Corel got the “lightweight” claim part right. The initial installer download is less than 1MB albeit it downloads more files as it installs the software. This setup is puzzling because Corel says “WordPerfect Lightning is simple, free and doesn’t need a Web connection.”” You may not need a Web connection to use it, but it appears that you need one to install it. I couldn’t find a standalone installer. Still, the whole installation process took less than 5 minutes in my PLDT WeRoam connection.

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